Democratic presidential candidate favours restricting drug because “doctors aren’t sure whether or not it’s doing damage.”
Michael Bloomberg’s views on cannabis are a work in progress.
The Democratic presidential candidate, who previously called legalizing marijuana “one of the stupider things that’s happening,” now says jailing people over the drug is “really dumb.”
The comments by the former New York City mayor were prompted by a Denver reporter who asked him if the people of Colorado were stupid for legalizing cannabis, according to Forbes.
“Colorado has a right to do what they want to do,” Bloomberg said over the weekend. “I would advise going slowly to any other state because it’s not clear, doctors aren’t sure whether or not it’s doing damage. But if a state wants to do it, and Colorado and Washington were the first two that did it, that’s up to the state,” he said.
“But what I really object to is putting people in jail for marijuana. That’s really dumb.”
With every other democratic candidate but Joe Biden firmly behind the legalization of the drug, Bloomberg’s opinion on the subject over the years could prove to be a problem. When he first ran for mayor of New York in 2001, a reporter asked him if he had ever tried cannabis. “You bet I did,” he said. “And I enjoyed it.”
But when Bloomberg won the election and assumed office, those comments were far from his mind. The new mayor appeared to do everything he could to build on Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to crack down on cannabis possession through the state’s controversial stop-and-frisk program that disproportionately impacted people of colour.
Cannabis-related arrests rose from 1,000 a year in Giuliani’s first year in office to 25,000 in his last. With Bloomberg in office, New York residents experienced six times as many stops by police and 50 per cent more arrests for cannabis possession.
In 2013, the year Bloomberg left office, a judge found the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk campaign to be unconstitutional. That same year, he called medical marijuana “one of the greatest hoaxes of all time.”
With an October Gallup poll revealing 76 per cent of Democrats want to see prohibition come to an end, Bloomberg’s policies may not mirror the direction the nation is headed.
Unless he changes his mind again, that is.
Written by David Yasvinski